Seoul: South Korean President Park Geun-hye once again apologised Monday for the sinking of a ferry which has left 286 people dead and 18 missing.
She also vowed to ensure a reform in officialdom and safety response system.
“As president (is) responsible for the people’s lives and safety, I sincerely apologise for the pains the people have suffered,” Park said in her first televised statement to the nation.
“The ultimate responsibility for failing to properly respond to this accident lies with me.”
Park has apologise four times since the 6, 825-ton passenger ferry Sewol capsized and sank off the southwestern island of Jindo April 16, but this was for the first time she sought an apology in the form of a national statement.
On the 34th day into search, 286 people have been confirmed dead. No survivors have been reported since 172 people were saved from the ship and sea on the day the ferry sank.
Park said the coast guard’s rescue operations actually failed in the ferry sinking accident, noting that after much contemplation, she reached a conclusion that the coast guard will be disbanded.
The Ministry of Security and Public Administration will focus solely on the task of public administrations, and the task of maritime guard and rescue will be transferred to the tentatively named “National Safety Office” that will be launched and serve as a control tower of rescue operations.
The task of marine transport control center from the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries will also be moved to the National Safety Office, Park said.